Missing Aum cultists may be dead

Seven of the 10 Aum Shinrikyo cult members that the National Police Agency has been unable to account for may already be dead, it was reported Feb. 14.

Following large-scale raids on the cult after the 1995 subway gas attack, police have been trying to locate a total of 54 followers who have been reported missing by their relatives. With the cooperation of the relatives’ lawyers, the NPA has been able to determine the whereabouts of all but 10 of the cultists.

According to the NPA, 18 members were confirmed to have died at a medical facility affiliated with the cult. Four others also died at other hospitals. Police determined that eight followers were killed in “accidents during training” at cult facilities. Six others were found murdered and are believed to have died at the hands of colleagues already indicted on murder and other charges.

Eight cultists were confirmed as being alive, and the NPA said it has not been able to determine the status of the remaining 10, but the testimonies of detained cult leaders and others suggest that seven of them may already be dead, their remains destroyed by the cult.